Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Thoughts on a Healthy Lifestyle

I read about an interesting study done recently that looked at sudden cardiac death in women and lifestyle factors associated with risk reduction.  Sounds kind of boring, I'll admit, but the gist of the article is that a healthy lifestyle significantly reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death in women.  This is important, because for everything we know about cardiac disease in men, the disease often manifests differently in women.  Sudden cardiac death may be the first indication of underlying cardiac disease in some women.  So I'm all about preventing it.

Four lifestyle factors in particular were found to have the greatest risk reduction, and they shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

  • Not smoking - kind of a no-brainer.  I've never been a smoker, and I'm very glad of that.  I have so many patients who want to quit smoking and just can't; it makes me sad for them.  The decline in lung function and subsequent functionality is a tough consequence for people to understand, especially early on, when they don't feel poorly.  It's not until significant lung function has been lost before people start to become symptomatic.  
  • BMI <25.  I'm still working on this one.  I've struggled with my weight my entire life, but at least I'm headed in the right direction at this point.  I haven't hit the magic number yet, but I'm hopeful that in the next year or so, I'll be where I want to be.  Maintaining it is a whole other story, but one step at a time...
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day.  I meet this goal on more days than not.  I generally exercise in the morning when I first get up.  Some weeks are better than others, but in general I try to be a fairly active person.  Even if I'm not running or something like that, I like to be out in my garden pulling weeds and such.  I make it a point to go up and down the stairs in my house multiple times per day.  
  • Eat a healthy diet - defined as high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy oils, and moderate in alcohol.  Yep, this one I've got covered.  In spite of my problems with my weight, I don't eat poorly on the whole.  I'll have a cheesy poof here and there at a party, and I do indulge in sweet desserts from time to time, but my daily diet always includes at least 5 fruits and vegetables, olive oil, and some kind of whole grain.  I eat mainly lean proteins and fish.  I do drink wine, but it doesn't get out of hand.  
I felt pretty good about my risk of sudden cardiac death after evaluating the lifestyle factors.  There's room for improvement for sure - I need to work on getting in more dedicated exercise, and I'm still working on getting my BMI down to where it should be, but overall, I think I'm doing the right things for my health.  And that makes me feel good.  

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I've been a member of Weight Watchers (again) since December.  As far as weight loss programs go, I like it - it's user-friendly, effective, and an overall healthy diet plan.  And it has worked really well for me.  I've lost 25 pounds, and then 6 weeks ago began gaining tiny little bits each week until my 25 pounds lost were really only 20 pounds.  And that frustrated the hell out of me.  Weeks where I would track every bite, exercise every day, and drink my water religiously would yield the same result as weeks where I slacked on exercise, loosened my portion sizes, and bought diet soda every day.

This week was the first week in over a month that I've seen a loss on the scale.  And it makes no sense.  I was at a wedding this past weekend, didn't track a thing, drank a bottle of wine, and got next to no exercise.  When people talk about lack of motivation to keep going, this is it.

I am a rule-follower.  Set something up as a rule, and I will follow to the best of my ability.  And when I don't follow the rules, I blame myself for the consequences.  But weight loss isn't like that.  It's not linear, even though we measure it that way.  Weight loss does not always follow "If this, then that" causality.  Sure, if you look at the broad picture, it does, but I'm talking week-to-week, because that's how I measure my weight.  Over 6 months, what I've done has added up to loss overall.  But what I did this past week should not.

This is the hardest thing for me to grasp and accept.  That I can follow the rules and not necessarily see the result I want.  I'm an achiever, that's how I roll.  And I have difficulty having faith that if I keep following the rules, it will even out eventually.  Instead, I choose to mostly close my eyes, try to do the right thing, and push through.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Why is it that days off seem to go much faster than the work week?  I was out of town for a cousin's wedding this weekend, and I'm so glad I ended up taking today off...I needed to recuperate from my travels!

Weddings have always been something of a double-edged sword for me.  It's fun to get dressed up and let go a bit.  I enjoy seeing my extended family, since they live far away and I don't get to visit with them all that often.  But I always end up somehow feeling like the clock of my life just sped up and I can't slow it down.

I haven't yet decided whether I want to get married or not.  It's not like this is a question on the immediate horizon of my life, but I feel like my ambivalence probably affects my dating life as a whole.  I don't want to get into a relationship without really understanding what I want.  The truth is, I'm not someone who is unhappy being single.  I don't love it 100% of the time, but the amount of time I spend feeling satisfied with my life is somewhere in the 90% range.  I haven't decided whether having someone else will enhance that feeling or not.

That's not to say that I'm opposed to the idea of marriage - I'm just not sure if it's right for me or not.  I suppose the answer to that question may depend on who I meet or date and how I feel about them.  But sometimes I think I hang in dating limbo because I'm afraid I will meet someone I truly care about, and then I'll have to give up my single life, my cherished time to myself, and make room in my routine for someone else.  It seems silly, doesn't it?  Either choice leaves me grieving for the loss of the other...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Seven Year Itch

after a seven-year hiatus, i finally made my way back to my blog...

i actually had thought that my blog had magically vanished into the ether of the internet.  what happens to all the old pages that no one ever looks at?  there's a tree-falling-in-the-forest question in there somewhere...

i just went through and read all my old blog entries from when i posted on a regular basis...its funny to think of what's changed and what hasn't....

i'm years wiser (or seven years older, at least) and with a new perspective on the whole blogging thing.  who knows what comes next?